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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

vals to front and rear and to machine-gun emplace-
ments. Now it was wrecked as though by earthquake
and eruption. Concrete strong-posts were smashed
and tilted sideways; everywhere the chalky soil was
pocked and pitted with huge shell-holes; and wher-
ever we looked the mangled effigies of the dead were
our memento mori. Shell-twisted and dismembered, the
Germans maintained the violent attitudes in which
they had died. The British had mostly been killed by
bullets or bombs, so they looked more resigned. But
I can remember a pair of hands (nationality unknown)
which protruded from the soaked ashen soil like the
roots of a tree turned upside down; one hand seemed
to be pointing at the sky with an accusing gesture.
Each time I passed that place the protest of those
fingers became more expressive of an appeal to God
in defiance of those who made the War. Who made
the War. I laughed hysterically as the thought passed
through my mud-stained mind. But I only laughed
mentally, for nay box of Stokes gun ammunition left
me no breath to spare for an angry guffaw. And the
dead were the dead; this was no time to be pitying
them or asking silly questions about their outraged
lives. Such sights must be taken for granted, I
thought, as I gasped and slithered and stumbled with
my disconsolate crew. Floating on the surface of the
flooded trench was the mask of a human face which
had detached itself from the skull.

p

V

LASTERED WITH mud and soaked to the skin,
the fatigue-party clumped down the steps to the
Tunnel. The carrying job was finished; but a stimu-
lating surprise awaited me, for Leake was just back
from Battalion H.Q, (somewhere along the Tunnel)

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